Sibu homecoming for Sarawakians stranded in Philippines

The Sarawakians who arrived at Sibu Airport with Tiang (right).

SIBU June 25: It must have felt good for seven Sarawakians who landed at Sibu Airport at 2pm today from Kuala Lumpur to be back on home soil.

They were among the 183 Malaysians stranded in the Philippines for three months as countries globally went into lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The seven are Yong Li Zhang, Yong Jing Xiang, Law Pik Wang, Wong Tai An, Yong Han Yuan, Frankie Wong Soon Le and Thomas Kiung Teck King.

Jing Xiang, 23, expressed relief to be back on home soil.

“For three months due to the lockdown in the Philippines, I had to stop working as my company was shut down,” said Jing Xiang who had been working as a salesman for about six months in Manila.

“I was all the while staying in our company’s quarters. I want to go home but there was no flight,”

He had a glimmer of hope in May he managed to buy an air ticket to Kuala Lumpur but the flight was cancelled.

Jing Xiang said all of the arrivals today worked with different companies in Manila.

“I will not go back to Manila anymore after this experience,” he added.

The returning Sarawakians all arrived at KLIA2 on June 23, having paid their own airfares. A group travelled home to Miri on June 24.

Political secretary to the Chief Minister Michael Tiang who welcomed the Sarawakians at Sibu Airport said due to the Covid-19 pandemic, these seven people were unable to either work nor fly home.

Tiang revealed they somehow managed to contact Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports, Datuk Sebastian Ting who then sought the assistance of Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong to secure a flight home for the stranded Sarawakians.

“I would like to thank the Philippines Embassy and Transport Minster for making their flight home possible,” he said.

“They already took the antigen test in Kuala Lumpur and the result is negative. However as the state government still requires them to have swab test for Covid-19 again here. They will also need to be quarantined at a hotel.”

The swab test will be done on the second day of their hotel quarantine. If the result is negative, they can return home to continue their quarantine and take a second test on the tenth day. — DayakDaily

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